P.E. trauma stretches across generations

I can’t wait to return to my NYC routine tomorrow, but if there’s one thing I’ll miss more than anything else about California, it’s spending time with my nephews. I saw both of them today, but during our Wednesday evening visit, I had a puzzling conversation with 5-year-old Sawyer, a Kindergartener who is still trying to figure out the whole “school” thing. That was the story of my life until sophomore year, when I found my place in drama class and propelled myself forward by preparing for college. Until then though, I had to endure a decade of misery in P.E. class.

I’ve written about my P.E. misadventures before, namely to report that I was once so uncoordinated and athletically inept that the instructor banned me from her class for the rest of the year. I said it once and I’ll say it again: she did me a favor by forbidding me to ever show up to her course again. My nephew Sawyer, however, wouldn’t feel so lucky to have dodged that bullet.

On Wednesday night, he pulled me aside to unload about his “bad day.” What does a “bad day” mean for a Kindergartener? Well, a best friend in a cast, for one. Sawyer was also irked about a toy of his going missing because of an irresponsible buddy. I tried to tell Sawyer that it’s just an item, but I knew I wasn’t helping at all. I remember feeling devastated over the loss of my Thumbelina figurine in second grade. The last issue, he said, was being unable to participate in P.E. There were too many students and he had to sit out. That would have been a dream come true to my younger self, and I relayed this to Sawyer, who couldn’t see why anyone would despise such a fun class.

That’s where we don’t see eye to eye, but we’re similar in that we’ve both been pushed out of P.E. for one reason or the other. The difference is that he loves being active and running around whereas I always prefered sticking my head in books and creating stories in my head. It’s nice that he’s so passionate about something this early on, though. He certainly has a better attitude on sports than I ever did! Expect great things from this little guy. He’s full of life, personality, and wit, and I feel privileged to watch him grow into an even more awesome person by the day. It’s almost enough, I believe, to convince me to move back to California.


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